City of Glendale wants to skip 4th quarter payment to NHL's Coyotes

The war of words between the city of Glendale and the Arizona coyotes continues to heat up.

The city is now saying it does not want to pay their upcoming scheduled payment.

It has filed a motion in court, asking to skip its $3.75 million payment that's due the July 1st.

Glendale officials are serious about voiding the current 15-year, $225 million contract with the Coyotes, on the grounds that two city leaders broke conflict of interest laws when the deal was made. So they've filed a motion in court, arguing they shouldn't have to continue making payments.

"They're probably fearful that if this would go through, it would be harder to get this back from the Coyotes," said Glendale City Council member Gary Sherwood.

Sherwood is one of two city council members who voted against terminating the Coyotes' contract.

"It's like a nasty divorce. Neither side can really afford the legal fees right now. The Coyotes can't, the city can't and we'll be spending money over a period of time funding this," he said.

Sherwood says this battle is over the bottom line. Glendale pays the Coyotes $15 million a year and the Coyotes manage Gila River Arena.

It costs about $6 million a year to operate the arena, so the city needs to make $9 million in revenue to break even.  It hasn't been doing that -- during the first year of the contract, revenues fell short by more than $2 million.

"All along, they said they were expecting to lose on the operation money on the first two years, break even the third year and start to make some money in year four and five. Right now, there's nothing to tell us they're not doing that," said Sherwood.

Sherwood says the majority of the city council believes the city could reap a better profit if it re-negotiated a better contract with the Coyotes or ran the Gila River Arena itself.

"We still have a mortgage payment on this.. it's a $180 million arena. What are we going to do with it?"

A judge must now decide if the city has to make its current scheduled payments to the Coyotes or not. Both sides are due back in court on June 29th.


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